With iTunes, iWork and the App Store available for iOS, your iPad can contain many documents and files. Interfacing your iPad with your PC enables you to exchange files, adjust settings and remotely access your desktop. While iTunes restricts direct access to your iPad's hard drive, third-party software can open previously hidden folders without the need to jailbreak your device.
Using Apple-Approved Methods
Install the latest version of iTunes if it isn't already on your computer (link in Resources). In addition to transferring files over a USB connection, iTunes can automatically detect your device when it joins the same wireless network as your PC. Enable this option by connecting your iPad with its USB cable, clicking the “Summary” tab and selecting “Sync with this iPad over Wi-Fi.” Apple also offers the iCloud Control Panel for Windows (see Resources for link). When you enable iCloud in your iPad's Settings menu, your photos, documents, notes, calendars and other data are automatically uploaded to your iCloud account, which is included with your iPad. The iCloud Control Panel gives you access to these files from your computer.
Mounting Your iPad's Hard Drive
By default, your iPad's system files are hidden, but disk-reading software can access your tablet's Media folder without affecting your warranty. View your media files in a browser window by installing a program such as iExplorer, DiskAid or iPhone Transfer (links in Resources). Like iTunes, these programs interface with your iPad via Wi-Fi or USB, but unlike iTunes, they enable you to export your text messages, voicemails and third-party files in easily readable formats. Each program includes a graphical interface with controls for exporting files, but they can also mount your iPad as a USB drive in File Explorer. This feature enables you to exchange files between your iPad and computer from a desktop folder.
Sharing Over a Wireless Network
Wireless sharing programs connect your iPad's hard drive to a Wi-Fi network so that you can access files from a Web browser on your computer. Programs such as Wireless Transfer App, Wireless Drive and Bump are available from the App Store on your device. After installing a wireless sharing application, a setup utility scans your network for computers and other devices, including other iPads and iPhones. The program displays a Web address to enter in a desktop or mobile browser, and visiting this page enables you to download files through your browser. Unlike iPad-syncing programs, wireless sharing applications don't require additional desktop software.
Viewing Your PC Desktop From Your iPad
With Virtual Network Computing software on your iPad and computer, you can access your PC from any Wi-Fi or 4G network. Download applications such as VNC Viewer, Mocha VNC and iSSH from the App Store on your iPad. To set up a VNC connection with your computer, you need to install a desktop VNC server, such as RealVNC, TightVNC or UltraVNC (links in Resources). Configuring a connection can be complicated, but a setup guide walks you through the process when you launch your iPad's VNC viewer. After connecting to the server, your PC desktop is available from your iPad. You can exchange files, open applications and control your PC from your tablet's touch screen.
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